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  • Sweet
  • Celebration

Cardamom and carrot cakes with maple icing

Atterley road

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like these. These are a crowd-pleaser, loved by old, young, boys, girls, junk-food lovers and health freaks alike. This is as close to a cupcake as I get – super-buttery sugary cupcakes don’t really

do it for me. I like something with character and depth. These are what I make if I am taking cakes to a party or to a friend’s for tea. They work well at any time of day, stay super-moist and are packed with goodness.

These are free of refined sugar, and sweetened with maple syrup and banana (though you can’t taste it). You can easily make them gluten free with no compromise on flavour. My favourite version uses coconut oil, instead of butter, and chickpea flour, but you can use butter and plain or spelt flour, if you prefer. Soy cream cheese or very thick yoghurt works for the icing too.

I sometimes swap the carrot for butternut squash or even a parsnip, so in that sense they are a very wonderful way to use up any lingering roots.

45 mins
Atterley road


  • 80g butter or coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • seeds from 4 cardamom pods
  • finely ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 100g light spelt or chickpea flour
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 banana peeled and mashed
  • 3 organic or free-range eggs, beaten

For the Icing

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground ginger

To decorate

  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lime
  1. Before you start

    Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a twelve-hole muffin tin with paper cases and put to one side.

  2. Put the butter or coconut oil and maple syrup into a pan with the spices and let it melt over a low heat. Set aside to cool.

  3. To make the batter

    Now put the ground almonds, flour, pumpkin seeds and baking powder into a bowl. Add the grated carrot, mashed banana and eggs, then pour in the cooled maple mixture and mix well. Spoon into the paper cases. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer poked into the cakes comes out clean.

  4. To make the icing

    While the cakes are cooking, make your icing. Put the cream cheese into a bowl with the maple syrup and spices and beat until light and fluffy. I like to do this with an electric hand whisk, but a wooden spoon works just fine too. Once the cakes are out of the oven and have cooled down, thickly spread each one with the icing and finish off with a grating of lime zest.

Additional information


Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in airtight container for up to 3 days
Un-iced cakes for up to 2 months

As featured in

Anna jones a modern way to eat book cover

A Modern Way to Eat

"Packed full of delicious, healthy recipes that are quick and easy to make, A Modern Way To Eat is a totally modern take on vegetarian cooking." With over 200 recipes that are as simple to make as they are nourishing, satisfying and truly tasty. Based on how Anna likes to cook and eat every day.

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